Priscilla Baldwin to Receive 2019 Simon Combes Conservation Award

Priscilla Baldwin to Receive 2019 Simon Combes Conservation Award

Vancouver, BC., Canada - Oct 21, 2019 - Three decades ago, Master scratch board artist and philanthropist, Priscilla Baldwin, turned her life's passion for desert wildlife toward transforming public attitudes and interest in nature through art. This year, AFC is proud to recognize Priscilla's vision, commitment and achievements with the Simon Combes Conservation Artist Award - AFC's highest honor. AFC bestows the award annually to individuals for exemplifying the achievements and dedication of the award's namesake. Priscilla will receive AFC's 2019 award this January 2020 in her hometown of Tucson, Arizona at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

With the award, Priscilla joins a who's-who roster of international recipients chosen for their artistic excellence and lifetime of extraordinary support of conservation, including David Shepherd, Robert Bateman, John Banovich, Robert Glen, Sue Stolberger, Pollyanna Pickering, Dr. Guy Harvey, Richard Ellis, John and Suzie Seerey-Lester, Karen Laurence-Rowe, Guy Coheleach, Mark Hobson and Guy Combes.

Born in South Africa and having lived for an extended time in Texas, Hawaii, Colorado and Arizona, Priscilla has experienced a variety of botanical and natural science environments. She holds a BA from Sweetbriar College. Her varied interests have included scuba diving and competitive trapshooting, gardening, architectural design and botanical and natural sciences art.

Always a conservationist, Priscilla's art has given her a channel to promote specific subjects and habitats. Her passion for conservation was magnified in the 1990's, while she was learning botanical illustration and made it a personal mission to inspire others to become conservationists through art.

Priscilla became aware of the powerful connection between art and nature when she displayed an iris from her botanical portfolio. The realism of the painting attracted a wasp, which landed on the paper and attempted the pollination pathway placed by nature. The tiny creature initiated Priscilla's path to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Thanks to the generosity of the Priscilla and Michael Baldwin Foundation, in 1998, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Art Institute (AI) was founded.

The Art Institute at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (ASDM) represents both the brainchild and the legacy of Priscilla and her husband Michael. It offers a unique and wide range of art education classes, where conservation concepts underlie each course. Its gallery space regularly hosts major touring art exhibits. The Art Institute has also been developing through acquisition of original artwork, a permanent collection of original art featuring species native to the Sonora Desert. In addition, the Institute includes a large theatre and an active Artist-in-Residence Program.

Priscilla explains, "The mission statements of Artists for Conservation and the Art Institute I founded 20 years ago at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum are virtually identical. ‘Conservation through Art Education' and ‘Conservation: the Gift of Life' are equally applicable to both organizations.

Today the Art Institute programming regularly conducts classes with live animals from the Museum's collections as models. No other institution is known to follow this practice on a regular basis. The result is powerful. Now, each year, hundreds of students form an emotional bond with these subjects which leads them to become attuned to the natural world and dedicated conservationists.

For Priscilla, pursuit of excellence has been a common goal through each endeavor. A six-time All-American trap shooter and master gardener, Priscilla's art has been the subject of a number of publications, including feature articles in Colorado Homes and Lifestyles, and House and Garden magazines.

Priscilla's artwork is in many private collections, and in the corporate collections of Amirob & Associates and BVZ Architects, and in the permanent collections of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation.

Priscilla continues to create her scratchboard portraits of nature in her Tucson studio.



Jeffrey Whiting

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